Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 8

January 22, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

This week’s “Countdown to Calvin” came with some tougher choices than usual.

Our “Week in Review” of the top five meaningful games could’ve been 10, at least. Our “Watch List” is growing in every class – and we had enough jump out this week especially in Class A that finding more to highlight the rest of the way won’t be difficult.

Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at To offer corrections or help us fill in missing scores, email me at [email protected].

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results: 

1. Kingsley 61, Maple City Glen Lake 45 – The Stags made a big statement in the Northwest Conference, remaining undefeated overall while handing Glen Lake its first defeat of 2017-18.

2. Detroit Mumford 44, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 35 – A string of three losses at the end of December is becoming a memory for Mumford with big wins like this one over last year’s Class B runner-up, now arguably the favorite in Class C.

3. Grand Rapids South Christian 57, East Grand Rapids 40 – The Sailors stand alone atop the Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold standings after handing the Pioneers their first league loss and second defeat overall.

4. Gaylord St. Mary 41, Bellaire 39 – St. Mary moved a game up in the Ski Valley Conference standings and should in statewide Class D regard after this meeting of teams that are a combined 19-3.

5. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 52, New Boston Huron 47 (OT) – The Kestrels moved into first place alone in the Huron League with just one loss overall after handing Huron its first this season.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks: 


East Kentwood (12-0) – The Falcons arguably have been the most impressive team in the state. After finishing Class A runner-up last season, East Kentwood opened this one with eight wins by at least 16 points. The Falcons then won closer over O-K Red rivals Grand Haven (8-3) and Caledonia (8-2), but upped the margin again beating second-place Hudsonville (9-3) by 31 on Friday.

St. Clair Shores Lakeview (12-0) – Last season’s 21-2 run ended abruptly in a District Final loss, but that’s proving to be just a bump as the Huskies are cruising again. Fraser has come closest to catching them, falling by only 11 on Dec. 12 – and Lakeview won the rematch Friday by 29. The Huskies also own a 20-point win over New Baltimore Anchor Bay, the next-best team in the Macomb Area Conference Blue.


Armada (9-1) – The Tigers won 13 games a year ago and finished second in the Blue Water Area Conference to Croswell-Lexington. Armada now sits in first in the league thanks to a 44-42 win over the Pioneers on Friday, with two more league wins by four points or fewer. The only loss came last week as well, by two to Marlette.

Stanton Central Montcalm (13-0) – The Hornets’ 17 wins last season represented an increase for the fourth straight winter, and they’re making an even bigger splash. Not only is Central Montcalm undefeated in a Central State Activities Association Gold that also includes Big Rapids (11-1) and Reed City (9-2), but the Hornets have 10 wins by double digits and another nice victory over Class A Greenville (7-3).


Allen Park Cabrini (8-2) – The Monarchs opened 0-2 but haven’t lost since Dec. 5, their latest win a one-pointer over Madison Heights Bishop Foley. That was one of only two single-digit wins during the run – Riverview Gabriel Richard got within five earlier this month. Big games against Wixom St. Catherine and Royal Oak Shrine over the next two weeks will be telling.

Harbor Springs (7-4) – Harbor Springs finds itself with some intriguing opportunities in the Lake Michigan Conference after upsetting Kalkaska 47-42 on Friday despite falling to the reigning league co-champion big twice last winter. The Rams this week get first place Traverse City St. Francis and second-place Charlevoix, with more visions of vengeance no doubt.


Chassell (10-1) – Since falling to L’Anse by four points in its opener, Chassell is undefeated and nearly unchallenged with only one other single-digit game – against Baraga on Dec. 12. The Panthers are first and Baraga is second in the Copper Country division of the Copper Mountain Conference after Chassell finished third a year ago.

Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian (11-0) – The Swordsmen are building off Northern Lakes Conference and District titles last season, and excelling. They won an overtime game early over Harbor Springs (see above), but aside from a close win right after over Alanson have dominated. Harbor Light also has a 25-point win over NLC second-place Mackinaw City with their second meeting coming up next week.

Can't-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:  

Tuesday – Detroit Country Day (8-1) at Detroit Edison Public School Academy (9-1) The reigning Class B and Class C champions, respectively, remain among heavy favorites in those brackets.

Tuesday – Bloomfield Hills Marian (9-1) at Farmington Hills Mercy (11-1) – This rivalry means as much as ever, as Marian won the first meeting 53-46 and the winner of this one could end up Detroit Catholic League Central champion.

Tuesday – Cedarville (11-1) at St. Ignace (10-0) – These are among the best small-school teams in the Upper Peninsula, with a 61-29 Saints win Dec. 6 the difference between which is undefeated.

Tuesday – Tecumseh (7-3) at Chelsea (10-1) – Both are undefeated in Southeastern Conference White play, Chelsea ahead in the standings with one more league win.

Friday – Macomb Dakota (9-2) at Warren Cousino (8-4) – After a 3-3 start, Cousino is surging in Macomb Area Conference Red play and can move into a tie for first place with Dakota if it can avenge a nine-point loss to the Cougars from Jan. 9.

PHOTOS: Grand Rapids South Christian, here against Ada Forest Hills Eastern, has surged into the top spot in the O-K Gold. (Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids South Christian athletic department.)

Little Provides Major Stride as 1st Woman to Officiate Boys Hoops Final since 1995

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

April 13, 2023

Delonda Little was already a trailblazer to many before this year’s MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals.

Greater DetroitBut what happened last month at Breslin Center made her even more of one on a statewide level.

A referee and assigner for 20 years in the Detroit area, Little is a female boys and girls basketball official who mentors both male and female referees – no matter the gender or level, as she officiates high school and college games.

Officials often go to Little for guidance, direction and assignments, which has made her respected for years throughout Metro Detroit in the prep basketball community. Then, her status as a trailblazer grew even more.

Little was assigned as an official for the Division 3 Boys Basketball Final between Flint Beecher and Traverse City St. Francis, and she became the first female referee to officiate an MHSAA Boys Basketball Final since Traverse City’s Barb Beckett 1995.

“It was a very good feeling to know I was the one selected,” said Little, who officiated the Final with Matt Olson and Zach Porritt.  

In fact, while attending a Semifinal game the Friday before the Final, Little received a phone call from an area code she didn’t recognize.

She answered, and it was Beckett.

“At first I didn’t know the name,” Little said. “I said, ‘No, I don’t know you, but that’s fine.’”

Beckett then explained she was the first female referee to be assigned a Boys Basketball Final, and just wanted to offer support to Little.

At that point, Little became excited and thankful she answered the call.

“It was very nice to hear from her because she wanted to reach out and if not pass the torch, to congratulate me,” Little said.

Little, 51, said she found out she was going to be refereeing the Division 3 boys championship game just before the start of the postseason when she received an email from the MHSAA.

“I’m looking at the email and I’m like, boys?” Little said. “I was shocked.”

But she was shocked in a good way, and obviously excited for the honor.

Little monitors the action between Flint Beecher and Traverse City St. Francis.Little didn’t find out until a couple of days before the St. Francis/Beecher contest that she would be officiating that specific championship game, but the Monday of boys championship week was when she really started to receive congratulations from friends and colleagues.

That’s when an article came out in the Detroit News detailing her selection, which led to countless calls, texts and congratulatory messages on social media.

“I couldn’t even (keep up with the comments),” she said. “That’s how overwhelming the actual tags were. It came from all across the state with officials, men and women, because I do women’s college (games). Some of the college ladies were reaching out. I was getting all the hoopla before the game.”

Little said she normally doesn’t get nervous for games, but not having some nerves became a bit harder once so many people knew of her achievement.

However, she settled into a normal routine quickly once the game started.

“I wanted to get it done, get it over with and do well,” she said.

Little did do well, which is no surprise to everyone who knew her before she officiated on the boys championship stage.

It was just another feather in the cap for Little, who in 2016 became the first woman to officiate a boys Detroit Public School League championship game.

“Delonda is one of the top officials in the Detroit area, and our staff doesn’t look at Delonda as a female working a boys game – we see one of the top officials in Detroit working a basketball game,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are females officiating in the NBA and female officials in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The aspect that made Delonda’s selection for this MHSAA championship game nearly unique will soon be the norm at all levels of athletics.”     

Little graduated from Detroit Osborn in 1989 and starred on the basketball court at Wayne State, earning induction into WSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Her day job is as an officer for the Michigan Department of Corrections, but her passion is officiating. She’s been an MHSAA-registered official for basketball for two decades and also was registered for volleyball for four years. This past fall she registered for football for the first time.

“I get something from it because it keeps me in shape, I love the people I work with and I like the kids,” Little said. “You are always teaching, and I like training the newer officials. I just enjoy it. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t refereeing.”

Going forward, Little hopes her championship game assignment will now be an inspiration for other female referees.

“There aren’t very many women who would like to work boys basketball or feel comfortable,” Little said. “If that’s something they desire, I’m hoping more women are selected to work the games if they feel comfortable.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) Delonda Little takes her position on the court during the Division 3 Boys Basketball Final on March 25 at Breslin Center. (Middle) Little monitors the action between Flint Beecher and Traverse City St. Francis.